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3,000 Tickets Cracking Down on 'New Jersey’s Distracted Driving Decade'

According to the acting Attorney General, 1.4 million accidents in NJ over the past 10 years have been caused by driver inattention.

The past 10 years have been dubbed “New Jersey’s Distracted Driving Decade” by the state’s Acting Attorney General John Hoffman, who announced Monday an ongoing initiative aimed at combating what he says is a dangerous trend.

According to the announcement, driver inattention played a role in about 1.4 million crashes in New Jersey between 2004 and 2013, about half the total number of crashes in the state. Hoffman attributed 1,600 deaths to distracted driving between 2003 and 2012.

“What is perhaps most troubling about these numbers is that the issue of distracted driving seems to be getting progressively worse,” Hoffman said in the release.

“Our research indicates that while crashes and fatalities are trending downward as a whole, the number and proportion of distracted crashes are rising.”

Hoffman points to smartphone use in cars as a major contributing factor, and gave an update on a law enforcement initiative – “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” – meant to curb cell phone-related distracted driving.

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety has provided $5,000 grants to 60 police departments across the state meant to help them “crack down” on distracted cell phone driving, Hoffman said in the release. 

The funds are being used to create check points and increased patrols between April 1 and 21. About halfway through the campaign, cops in participating municipalities had issued about 3,000 summonses for electronic device violations, the release said.

The campaign is meant to combine with impending increased penalties for those types of violations. Starting in July, cell phone ticket prices will jump from $100 for a first offense to between $200 and $400.

“People need to know that we are serious about stopping this deadly behavior,” NHTSA Region 2 Administrator Thomas M. Louizou said in the release.

“Using a handheld phone and texting has reached epidemic levels. When you text or talk on the phone while driving, you take your focus off the road. That puts everyone else’s lives in danger, and no one has the right to do that.”

According to Hoffman, even towns throughout the state that did not receive the $5,000 grant have committed to conducting a campaign to deter distracted driving this month. To see a full list of the towns that received funding, click here.

BoroTaxPayer April 18, 2014 at 12:38 PM
Why would you drive slower just to piss people off, haven't you read of people getting killed from road rage? By going slower, you are just as much a danger to other drivers as the ones texting and talking, you can get a ticket for driving too much under the speed limit, for hindering traffic....sorry state of affairs indeed!
louisemyrealtor April 19, 2014 at 09:14 AM
Folks... I know all too well about road rage.. The road calls for 35mph - folks travel @ 40-50mph - and sometimes get caught by a policeman who hide out... I go 30-35 miles per hour... it's a one lane road that folks need to drive the speed limit! I don't expect anyone to become enraged by me going 5 mph slower...
FIMF the ll April 19, 2014 at 09:47 AM
Driving slower yields more opportunity to text carefully.
Mac April 19, 2014 at 10:08 AM
per louisemyrealtor "I don't expect anyone to become enraged by me going 5 mph slower... " - be prepared to be surprised cuz with your out of touch beliefs you will most likely only be surprised once - why do I suspect you live in Christie World?
grace April 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM
lose my realtor

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